Consider lab-created diamonds
4 min read
As you look for that perfect diamond for your engagement ring or custom jewelry, one question you’ll be asked is whether you prefer a mined or lab-created diamond. While lab-created diamonds may seem like a new phenomenon, they’ve been around for decades but are now a hot topic in the diamond jewelry industry, specifically on the basis of whether they are “real” diamonds or not. The answer might surprise you.
Gem quality diamonds were first successfully created in a lab by GE was in 1971. Granted, most of the diamonds that were grown were yellow-to-brown in color. Not very appealing for your engagement ring.
Nowadays, technology has improved and we are now able to grow diamonds using a diamond “seed”. From this seed, grows a diamond crystal over weeks or months, which is the faceted into beautiful lab-created diamonds. This happens thanks to a combination of pressure, gases, and temperature, along with the diamond seed.
But Are Lab-Created Diamonds Real?
Lab-created diamonds are made from the exact same material as mined diamonds and as such, are chemically identical to mined diamonds. While there are some machines coming out that use UV light to distinguish a difference, without special machinery or sending the diamond to a gem lab, it is impossible to tell the difference. The only way for even an experienced diamond expert to tell a mined and lab-created diamond apart is to look at the laser inscription on the girdle of the diamond, which starts with “LG” or sometimes fully states “Lab Grown” or “Lab Grown in USA”, followed by the diamond grading report number. Without this, they are indistinguishable. You’ll hear many try and argue this, but it’s really because they don’t like the idea of lab-created diamonds, what it does to the value of mined diamonds and what it would mean to the industry at large.
What really cemented the legitimacy of lab-created diamonds was the recent ruling by the Federal Trade Commission back in October of 2018. Reported by Forbes, the FTC shocked the diamond world when then unexpectedly overturned their previous ruling on diamonds, removing the word “natural” from its definition of a diamond.
“The Commission no longer defines a ‘diamond’ by using the term ‘natural’ because it is no longer accurate to define diamonds as ‘natural’ when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds,” the FTC ruled.
Pros and Cons of Lab-Created Diamonds
Lab-created diamonds are real, but is one right for you? There are many points to consider:
1. Rarity – Lab-created diamonds are currently more rare than mined diamonds. While the demand for lab-created diamonds has significantly increased, it seems production has been struggling to keep up. When looking for 2ct or larger lab diamonds, you may struggle to find the quality you want as it might not exist currently.
2. Ethics – Many consumers out there are inclined to purchase lab-created diamonds because they are ethical, non-conflict diamonds, and many lab-created diamonds are manufactured in the United States. While they may be more ethical, they actually have a larger carbon footprint than mined diamonds.
3. Budget – The biggest benefit of buying a lab-created diamond is you will get a much bigger diamond for your budget, given the availability. Lab-created diamonds can be anywhere from 30-70% less than a comparable mined diamond.
For example, if you are shopping for a diamond or engagement ring and you have a budget of $10,000-$12,000, that would most likely put you at or around a 1.50ct mined diamond in a decent quality. For that same budget, however, you could purchase a comparable quality lab-created diamond, that is as large as a 2.50ct diamond!
Like them or not, it’s hard to pass up the size difference for the exact same product. Lab-created diamonds are here to stay and becoming mainstream as more and more people are learning the truth that lab-created diamonds are indeed real diamonds. Speaking to an experienced jeweler can help you weigh your options and make the right choice for you.